Our response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) See Updates


SAT Strategies: Should You Guess or Not?

Written by James Madison High School on Thursday, 28 January 2016. Posted in College Bound, Helpful Tips

SAT Strategies: Should You Guess or Not?

Taking the SAT before college is important, as the results can determine your future academic path significantly. In order to admirably perform during the test you will need to be properly prepared. First and foremost, you will need to brush up on your high school knowledge. If you lack a certain course or need to take a few extra classes, James Madison High School offers a full online curriculum. It is a fully accredited school that will help you tremendously on your path towards college education.

Once you are certain you know enough in order to get a satisfying SAT score, you will need to start thinking about the strategy you will implement in order to get good score. First, be prepared and read through our guide to the SAT so you know what to expect. You will need to be relaxed and confident; alleviate as much stress as possible by taking a walk, doing some deep breathing, or listening to calming music before the test. When you arrive to the classroom, and they hand you the test itself, make sure to read every question at least twice before answering.

Guessing the answer

You may wonder if you should take a guess at questions you aren't so sure of the answer. This actually depends on whether you can make an educated guess or not. The way SAT tests are scored is you get one point if the answer is correct. If the answer is incorrect, a quarter of a point is subtracted. If you leave the question blank, no points are added or deducted.

So, should you guess or not?

Guessing certainly has its advantages, but only if you can make an educated guess because if you randomly choose and get it wrong, you're losing a chance at one whole point, but if you make a logical guess, you can get a whole point.

How do you make an educated guess? This means that you scratch off the answers you know for sure are not correct. As you eliminate those, your chance of guessing the correct answer increases. It becomes worth it to guess if you can eliminate two answers that you are sure are wrong. It might bring you a few valuable points and help you receive a better score. If there are five answer choices and you cannot eliminate any of the possibilities, your chances of getting the question right are only 20% so it is not in your best interest to take a guess in that case.

However, if there are five possible answers and you can confidently eliminate two answers, you now have a 33% percent chance of guessing the correct answer. Those are odds you will gladly take because on average for every three questions you guess on your score will increase by half a point. (Assuming you get one right and two wrong, remember you get one point for correct answers and lose a quarter of a point for incorrect answers).

As you move forward to take the SAT, remember the importance of preparation, as the more prepared you are, the less likely you will have to guess on questions. Plenty of schools, including James Madison High School, have resources to assist you in adequately preparing you for the SAT exam. Have an efficient daily study routine and stick to it. Get plenty of sleep before the exam, take a couple of deep breaths beforehand, and relax as best as you can while taking it.

About the Author

James Madison High School

James Madison High School

Our blog comes to you live from our high school students and community. Dive in to hear more from current students, alumni, and experts as we celebrate our student's accomplishments, persistence, and passions.